I have always been intimidated by free motion quilting, until now.

My first attempts were awful: jumpy, inconsistent stitches, tension problems, stitches where I didn’t want them, etc. I was determined to improve this year.

I have been working on six baby quilts for the local guild to donate to NICU babies. Pictures as soon as I finish the binding. I’ve free-motioned them, in a large meander, as they don’t like a lot of stitching on them. I can definitely see improvements in these six quilts.

I have Patsy Thompson’s fabulous DVDs, and replayed Volume 0.5 again the other day too. This time I paid very close attention to the placement of her hands, stitch length and how she was moving the fabric. It helped a lot.

This weekend, despite my “don’t start anything new” rule, I cut up six gorgeous fat quarter batiks to make six Friendship Bags. If you decide to do this too, be warned, I had JUST enough fabric with the FQs. Only one little 2″ x 8.5″ strip and a few scraps left over.

I first cut out the lining pieces (15″x8.5″) and the two handles, 10″ x 2 1/4″. I cut the rest of the fabric into various strips ranging from 1″ to 3″ x 8.5″. In hindsight, I should have made them 9″ to give me more room to trim after, but then I probably wouldn’t have had enough fabric to get the length required. These measurements are coming from Rachel’s Friendship Bag Tutorial.

I stripped the pieces horizontally to make one long piece ~15″x8.5″, then spray-basted on batting. Then it was time to play with the quilting. I’m using a gorgeous variegated thread (Coats, I believe) with Bottom Line in the bobbin.


I’ve finished the free motion quilting on one piece already. Is it perfect? No! But I love it, and it was so much fun! I opted to quilt each strip in a different pattern. I wanted to try circles, bubbles actually, but my samples looked awful. I think I’ll hold off on those until I get more experience and confidence.



The back. Because the Friendship Bags will be lined, the quilting is done without a back fabric, just the batting.


Free Motion Quilting
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10 thoughts on “Free Motion Quilting

  • August 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks Tonya … I’m getting better!

  • August 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    It does look great! I also love free motion quilting. I like doing the quilting on my quilts.

  • August 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I love your fabric selection for the Friendship Swap Bag. I need to select my fabrics so I can make mine. I feel as though I’m behind because I’ve seen a couple of the participants have already finished theirs. LOL
    .-= Dena’s latest post: Can you believe this? =-.

  • August 10, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Nice free motion quilting, I love the fabric selections as well. I must join this swap!
    .-= Nancy’s latest post: Balance =-.

  • August 11, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Your free motion looks great. I love practicing my free motion on little things like the friendship bags :)
    .-= Robin (rsislandcrafts)’s latest post: Just an idea =-.

  • August 11, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Your free motion quilting is great. I’m in the same boat as you were – irregular stitches etc. I have decided to make myself sit down for 15-20 minutes every day and just practice!! Hope it works. I find moving the quilt around is difficult as well.
    .-= Di Thompson’s latest post: A Fantastic Giveaway =-.

  • August 11, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments.

  • August 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    What yummy fabrics! I like that you did each strip in a different design it is a great idea.
    .-= Wendy’s latest post: A Quilt Giveaway =-.

  • August 11, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks Wendy, I had a lot of fun with it.

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